The Art and Science of Listening

$100.00 / unit

The Art and Science of Listening

Has the dashed-off text message replaced the art of listening in face-to-face conversation? Listening and attunement to people are basic human activities, essential for awareness of ourselves and others. This course will examine what happens when we listen to, speak with, and try to understand other people. How do some conversations make human connections come alive? Why do others fail? We will cover some of the numerous psychological studies that have analyzed the dynamics and nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication, and the obstacles to effective exchange. The class will watch and critically examine videos of personal interactions in a variety of settings: doctors and patients, teachers and students, parents and children, and people in various roles in the workplace, and in social situations. To demonstrate the process of active listening the instructor will conduct live interviews with an actor playing the roles of people difficult to interview, and the students will discuss and critique the dynamics. The participants can expect to come away with a heightened awareness of the factors that can interfere with truly hearing others—projections, emotions, blind spots, stereotypes, and biased assumptions. The course can help them acquire a more open-minded, objective understanding of themselves and others.

Instructor: Stephen Bank

Location: Wesleyan Wasch Center

Dates: Tuesdays 3:30-5:30 pm, May 2, 9, 16, 23